February According to my iPhone

We went to a fun Valentines themed party at our friend Katie's in Huntersville. Annie ate enough frosting to last a lifetime.

I continued to love the Harris YMCA where Annie made these darling crafts. Who needs preschool when you have a gym daycare like this? (Kidding, of course)

James took Annie to clean the church one Saturday while I stayed home to sleep. Annie has loved wiping anything and everything since. We are teaching her young. 

The infamous picture of my Annie girl. I took her to nursery one Sunday and when she came out her hair looked like this. In her defense, it was in pigtails to start with so she had a little extra help. But really girlfriend? Where do you come from. I can't help but look at this picture and thing how much she's grown in just two short months.

We went to the nature museum one day with one of our best pals Avery. Isn't this old tree stump cool?

Because every monthly post needs a good sleeping shot.

One night when we got in the car to go get James for dinner (we try to meet him once a week) Annie said, "Dada, Worky, Chicken, Rice." I busted up. Apparently we eat waaay too much Chipotle.

My new calling is keeping me busy. It's crazy to see the difference between events from Utah to NC. I am really having to tone it down with the enrichment nights. It's quite refreshing actually.

More playing at Noah's Art. I love watching Annie's creativity grow. Such a little artist.

Feeding Baby Lulu a bottle.

Annie is really learning to love her veggies. Eating straight Kale. I've got to admit, I can't even do that.

Staying busy inside while its cold outside.

James and I went to a fun new restaurant called Baku for Valentines Day.

We had some great park weather towards the end of February. It was so heavenly. I could really see how happy Annie was to be outside that first day. This was a day I will cherish. I just loved the look on her face that day. I love my job.

Snack time after gym time. You can really see her big bump on her forehead here. She fell off the couch with a puzzle piece in her hand and got this little cut and bump. She kept picking the scab off for weeks so we finally had to put a bandaid on it for several weeks in order to get it to heal. She still has a little scar to show for the wound.

The highlight of February was a visit from our dear, dear Suz! Oh how we love her. We were so glad we got to soak up a few fun days with her before she moved back to the West Coast. She was even nice enough to watch Annie for me one morning while I did some errands for Relief Society. She is such a cherished friend and one I can't live without. It meant the world that she would travel to see us.  We love you Suz!

More art time with my girl.

We met up with several friends for art time at Noah's Art. I love this photo. Childhood creations. Nothing better.

Lastly, I couldn't help but see a little resemblance here with my Grandma Staples. I think I am the only one that sees it in the family but to me it is so strong. Something about the bottom half of her face remind me so much of Meridean. I love finding little gems like this. Makes me fell my Grandma all around.

Frozen Date with Daddy

One Friday in February James got off around 4 pm on a Friday. It was a special treat for us so we decided to take Annie to her very first movie followed by her very first round of Pinkberry "ice cream." We brought snacks galore for the movie and Annie did great sitting through it. James may have shed a tear or two but we aren't judging. It was just a lack of sleep talking, right babe? We decided this was a fun way to introduce movies as a special treat and outing, rather than a daily activity. We hope to do it more! Annie still talks about the snowman. We have probably only watched the song Let it Go a handful of times on YouTube, but if we play it for her on our phones she belts the big parts and even uses her hands to make the movements. It is amazing to me how much of a sponge this little girl is. She picks up on things so quickly. My heart bursts looking at these photos. We were all exhausted and this was just what our little family of three needed at the end of winter. It's amazing to me that although James doesn't have your regular Daddy-o schedule, he and Annie have this special bond. When it comes to Daddy's, I am convinced the quality of time is most crucial. Thankfully, our Daddy is pretty darn good at quality time. We adore him.

Night on Montford Street

We've really grown to love Montford Street in Charlotte. It is restaurant row with a ton of fun bars and unique restaurants. This particular night we went to a Mexican restaurant where Annie downed cup after cup of salsa. Then we met up with the Wahlen's who have a little girl just about Annie's age. We took them bowling for the first time and both girls were in heaven. Annie thought it was hysterical to roll the ball down the ramp. She even got Daddy to give her a turn or two. That's true love.

Valentines Day

On Valentines Day the Snow had stopped but the roads were still pretty slushy. We decided to brave the drive to see our darling friends for a Valentines exchange and treats. I wish I would have taken pictures of the decorations. They turned out pretty cute. We wrapped the table in wrapping paper, decorated my famous grandma Milne's sugar cookies and used brown paper bags to keep our Valentines in. Thanks for hosting with me Kelli! We love making memories with these fun friends.


Potty Training and Snow in Charlotte

At about 18-19 months Annie really started hating her diaper. She'd always take it off the second she woke up and would occasionally strip herself naked in her crib. She was really fascinated with the whole restroom process and had been occasionally going on the potty since she was about one. I knew she wanted in on the whole potty training thing but worried I wasn't ready.

2014 was the winter that really just bombarded the East Coast. Thankfully, Charlotte is far enough South that we avoided a great deal of the storms. It was chilly but we were blessed to avoid a lot of power outages and major storms. The week of Valentines, however, was a different story. It was on the news for dayyyys before. It is always hard to tell with Charlotte. Sometimes storms are really hyped up and nothing happens. But this one seemed different so I really prepared. They were warning that we'd have about 2-3 days of a big snow storm which would mean no driving on the roads. 

James and I decided it was go time. Between her total fascination with the restroom and the snow storm it just seemed like the perfect solution. I talked with quite a few friends (Heather you were a huge help) and read up online. I decided that I didn't want candy/food to be my incentive. I hoped stickers, toys and playdoh would do the trick. 

The first day the storm was light but we stayed in anyway. We spent the day nakey-nakey and I asked her if she needed to go about every 15 minutes. It was redundant but I was terrified of poop accidents. Annie only had one pee accident besides going in her diaper at nap time. My friend Heather really encouraged me to talk to Annie like she was an adult. Annie was just 20 months and I worried she simply wouldn't understand. Some of the phrases my friend was suggesting seemed too mature for Annie (like the word "accident") but I went with it and really encouraged her to use her words. Annie LOVED the process. She loved putting stickers on her chart and really loved when she got a toy or play doh. She would yell "I did it!" I was really loving the process too.

On day two the snow really started to set in. Feeling confident I put Annie in underwear. Within two minutes she had an accident. The underwear really confused her. That day was a little rough. I think we had three or four accidents in our underwear, including a poopy. One of those accidents happened when I took her out into the snow to play. I am sure it was all so confusing. At this point I was frustrated and wondered if we'd ever get the whole underwear concept. But I decided to keep going. I started to let her tell me when she needed to go, giving her more responsibility. That seemed to help!

As for the storm. It really started pounding on day two. It was amazing to see how the city just completely shut down. I mean, you couldn't go anywhere. Some of our friends were without power. It was oddly beautiful. It was incredible to see Uptown so quiet. Most people had the day off as they couldn't get into work. It was really something else. James went into the office since he could walk in but had a pretty early day. He said the whole city was down. No where to eat, nothing. I took Annie out into the snow in some makeshift snow clothes. Her options were pretty slim. At first she was really excited. But the second she saw snow on her shoes she had to wipe it off…with her bare hands. And then it was all over. I could not get her to stop crying. I felt her pain. I don't do well with snow! So, we packed it up and headed inside to make sugar cookies for Valentines. That was a huge hit!

Day three the snow kept falling and we were able to go out sledding with James (who was thrilled to jump out and help people who had no idea how to drive in the snow). The sun was shining a little and we were one of the few people who braved the roads to drive to a sledding hill. We called this storm a true blessing as we got to spend some very rare time with James. It was huge for our family. James taught Annie to love the snow. In fact, "eating snow" was her first real pretend play moment. She will still pick up an imaginary piece of snow and feed it to us. It's fun to have such a big moment kick that off. We love imaginary play!

On day three Annie continued to be confused about underwear. And I continued to be frustrated about it. If I left her with a naked bum - she would do great. Otherwise, it was a lost cause. 

Day four was Valentines. I went back and forth on whether or not to have our party (which was at my wonderful friend Kelli's). I had made all of the party preparation and was all set. Finally, all of the girls decided we'd brave the streets and we went for it. The side streets were definitely sketchy but the main roads had cleared. I put Annie in a diaper. I was completely discouraged. She peed in her diaper.
 I decided that the diaper was a terrible idea. I had already put the time in. She knew how to do it. 

So on day five I went on a big outing with no diaper. I needed to run a bunch of errands for James and I pushed her too long. She had a baaad accident in her undies. It completely grossed her out. We talked all about accidents and she started saying "no accidents" on repeat. From there it was really smooth sailing. Outings were (and still occasionally are) stressful. Sometimes she will struggle with an occasional public restroom - but who can blame the girl - so do I! She's only had two poop accidents and that last one just really got to her. I was terrified about taking her to the gym. The first few times I took her in a pull-up but then I decided to talk with her like an adult and tell her what was going to happen. I was amazed at how well she did. I still can't expect her to tell her teacher at church or at the gym. But as long as someone (a leader or teacher) is taking her every hour she does great! 

We worked hard those first three days, but really giving her the choices and the responsibility helped. Positive praise was really key for us. But mostly, I think Annie was just ready. I keep reminding James that our next child will likely not be potty trained at 20 months. After the experience I can really say that I think it depends so much on the child. Annie drove the potty training and there is no way I could have forced it on her. At times I wish she was still in diapers (like the three times I had to take her to the potty at Target today) but others I am glad to have it checked off my list. Annie now does pretty great! If we are at home she never has accidents. Out and about can present some more challenges but overall she does great. 

Our next barrier is bedtime and nap time. Annie strategically goes #2 at these times as she still wears a pull-up. We've got to find a way to break that habit. It will probably involve me getting her out of bed as soon as she wakes up OR moving her to a big girl bed. Both of which I am not quite ready to commit to yet. 

Overall, I am thrilled with my decision to do the grunt work during the big storm. The three day crash course method was great for us! We were lucky to stay safe in the storm and loved having a winter wonderland to accompany our potty training days.


January in One Big Post

Officially getting this thing caught up so that I can have a regular update of my family. Oh how I have missed blogging. I have heard from several friends recently who use blogs to stay in touch and I've really got to get my act together. I keep saying it. But I mean it this time. 

January was pretty uneventful around here. James was busy at work and I was busy getting back into the swing of real life post holidays. I'll admit, I had the winter blues pretty bad in January and February. Typically I put Annie down and get to work on projects, talking to friends, cleaning etc. But not in January. I put her to bed. Snuggled into my covers and watched episode after episode of Parenthood. I am quite ashamed to admit that, but it's exactly what happened. It was nice to take a little break and realize that I love my crazy busy life. So, we got back to it mid-February! Here is what happened in January.

We drove home from Virginia on New Years Eve and Annie wanted to snuggle in with Mom and dad. James snapped this picture. It is a rare scene so I guess he had to document. I kind of love it.

We spent New Years Day with our friends the Mehalics, who got these super shnazy electric cars for Christmas. Annie was all for hopping in that fast car with that cute boy. Daddy was scared out of his mind.

Daddy got to tuck Annie in for bed and boy did she love it.

I got straight to New Years resolutions and juiced quite a bit in January. Annie loooves juice with veggies and fruit!

There was lots of putting Christmas decorations away and restocking the house with essentials. Annie and I have fun while we work.

We also spent quite a bit of time at Noah's Art. I nearly died of cuteness this day over Annie's top knot. Killer, right?

I finally figured out what to do above our (tiny) sofa. They turned out super clear and I love seeing Annie's big blues staring back at me all day.


I had the haircut from you-know-where. I mean honestly, who puts rollers in and sits under these things anymore?

The high of the month was having Kourtney come into town. She had a free weekend and popped down from Ithaca. It meant the world to me. If you've been reading for awhile now you know that Kourtney and I met in London and have carried this friendship through many years. We stayed up late chatting, saw a few things around Charlotte but mostly enjoyed each others company. James had an insane weekend at work so it was really nice to have her company!

While she was here I was just mortified over Annie's behavior. She just kept crying and crying and crying. Finally, I knew something was wrong and we took her in to the doctor just a few hours before Kourtney left. Sure enough, she had Hand Foot and Mouth. That was definitely my low point of January. How on earth do kids catch these nasty things? I was frustrated and felt bad Kourtney had to endure all the whining. I felt bad for my little Annie. 

We painted her semi spotted hands and sent Kourtney on her way home. Thankfully Annie's HF&M wasn't too extreme and cleared up in about 4 days.

Lots of lounging while we were sick. 

We also have this happening right outside of our door. It's been leading to a lot of anger on my part. I try to ignore it but they are building a massive complex probably 50 feet from our apartment. We hear construction from 7 am to 9 pm daily. I know, it is such a first world problem but the noise really wears on your nerves after so many hours. James and I can hardly wait to get out of our current apartment.

Annie's little personality started really coming out post-Christmas and her vocabulary has just boomed. She loved to dress herself in January and enjoyed playing with my jewelry box.

One of my dearest friends, Julia, moved to Texas at the end of January. She is the real reason I have so many wonderful friends here in Charlotte. Our first weekend in town she invited us over for a fourth of July breakfast. It was there that we kicked off wonderful friendships. She got me right into playgroup and was my go-to gal! I held a tiny get together with some of her favorite things (like donuts) to wish her a big farewell. We miss her dearly.

The partying for Julia continued when Kirby had a little get together. We just couldn't let Julia go without a huge hoopla. We really can't say enough how much we miss her!

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